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Ocean Beach sea foam – Ew!

The ocean’s way of cleaning itself

Jim Grant: “I have seen the seafoam many times, but never to the point where it came over the sea wall."
  • Jim Grant: “I have seen the seafoam many times, but never to the point where it came over the sea wall."
  • Image by Jim Grant

On February 17 at about 7 am, Jim Grant pulled up to a “big whitish blob” north of the Ocean Beach Pier.

“The foam was coming up the stairs and had come over the 40” high sea wall for a length of 100 or more feet,” he explained. “The foam was all up and down the beach on the sand and in the surf for as far as I could see both directions.”

Grant, 63, is a Point Loma resident that’s been photographing the surf for years — especially when there’s interesting weather, winds, clouds, rainbows, full moons or sunsets.

"You’re seeing the build-up of organic compounds that previously dissolved into solution but have since been forced out."

"You’re seeing the build-up of organic compounds that previously dissolved into solution but have since been forced out."

“I have seen the seafoam many times,” he said, “but never to the point where it came over the sea wall and covered the whole boardwalk.”

One person said “Ew” and another said “Looks like snow.”

Grant posted a video on his social media of a man riding his bicycle through about six inches of foam on the boardwalk between the parking lot and the steps to the beach; he captioned it: “Seafoam is organic material being churned by wave generally not harmful, it’s unsightly but not harmful.”

Jim Grant video – Ocean Beach

Biking through six inches of foam

Biking through six inches of foam

One guy didn’t fully agree with Grant. “[The foam] certainly could be harmful given the amount of pollutants that have been washed into the water,” he commented. “What you’re seeing is the build-up of organic compounds that previously dissolved into solution but have since been forced out due to aeration from heavy wave action.”

“Very succinct explanation!” Grant responded.

“I am not a scientist, but from what I have read, the foam is organic algae that gets stirred up by high surf and washed ashore. In a way it is the ocean’s way of cleaning itself.”

The seafoam stuck around on the boardwalk until noon that Sunday.

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Comments

This foam looks certainly unpleasant. I hope this will make people think again that we should take care of our nature.

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